A Tory MP and former minister has warned that Britain’s childhood obesity crisis risks creating an “unemployable
underclass” unless the Government takes urgent action. Andrew Selous said that obese children become adults with a low self-image, low self-confidence and will struggle to find themselves jobs as a result. He told MPs during a parliamentary debate: “Unlike any time in history, it is now the poorest children who are the most overweight. A third of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, with obesity twice as prevalent among children in the most deprived social groups.
“We cannot allow an unemployable underclass to grow up. Children who are obese go on into adult life being obese, have a low self-image, low self-confidence and struggle to get work as a result.
“We are talking about a lifetime of opportunity [that is being missed] if we don’t grasp this issue.” It came as MPs pressed the Government to extend the ban on advertising junk food before the 9pm watershed. Maggie Throup, another Tory MP, said that celebrities on the biggest TV shows should take a stand against junk food advertising.
She said: “If we are truly to effect change, as Jamie Oliver has demonstrated, we need some of that star magic.
“I am calling on those household names such as Simon Cowell, Ant and Dec, Dermot O’Leary and Amanda Holden, to take some corporate responsibility, stand up the broadcasters and say they will no longer be used as a hook to sell harmful junk food to our children.”
Matt Rodda, a Labour MP, warned that parents are being “inundated” with junk food advertising.